Financial Power of Attorney

I read a recent article in which the author had taken the steps of getting a legal, notarized, power of attorney for their parents’ financial affairs, but was unable to use it like they intended to take care of their parents’ financial matters. Their problem arose when their parent became incapacitated, and they approached the bank about gaining access to accounts on which their name did not appear. Due to the increasing amount of fraud, banks are subject to some very stringent regulations. In addition, because a large amount of financial fraud is perpetrated by family members, banks are duly concerned with granting them access to accounts. Although I have been assured that, in Missouri at least, a notarized financial power of attorney provides the grantee immediate rights to access the funds, why not take an extra step to avoid confusion or delay.

One way to preclude such stress is to have the grantor appear at the bank with the grantee when the POA is first created so that they can personally attest to the validity of the document. If you do this, be sure to ask the bank employee to note the date of your visit in their records and remember to write it in your own log as well.

You may ask “why not just get joint ownership on the accounts?” The best reason is that the funds may then be accessible in a lawsuit on either owner. The POA prevents this from happening. Just be sure that there is a Payable on Death (POD) beneficiary named on all of the accounts so that they immediately transfer to the beneficiary without having to pass through the probate process.

My previous article was about having difficult conversations.  Asking somebody for POA for either healthcare or financial decisions is not easy, but it does not have to be confrontational. The better you understand and convey the pros and cons, the easer the conversation will go.

For more information regarding POA’s, POD’s, and difficult conversations, visit my website and take a look at my books First Steps For Success ( and Embraced Living (

Thanks for reading. Please like and share with those who are struggling with these issues.
And remember to take the next step.

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